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Before commenting on this book, let me note that versions of this have appeared in past editions of What Color Is Your Parachute? So, if you have a copy of that book, check it out to see if an appendix on setting your life mission exists there. Then, you can evaluate the book's content for yourself.
In this gift edition, the author has added many woodcuts and blank pages to what is an essay with elaborations about finding your mission in life.
In the essay, Mr. Bolles answers a question posed to him about the diagram in The Three Boxes of Life in terms of what a personal mission looks like.
Mr. Bolles explains that to him mission is a religious concept that cannot be discussed without considering an individual's relationship to God. With apologies and respect to other religions, Mr. Bolles points out that he is a Christian and can only effectively describe a mission from the Christian perspective. Those who are not religious, or not Christians, will probably not find this approach to a mission to be as valuable as a more secular approach.
Mr. Bolles also focuses his thinking more on a job-oriented mission than most people would consider. If you want something broader, you might find this approach a little too narrow. Mr. Bolles points out that there are many processes for arriving at a mission. He is merely describing the one he knows best, not proclaiming it to be the best.
This book will be most helpful to someone who is a Christian, and is spiritually troubled because of discomfort with her or his job or life role. If you know someone like that, you may have found an ideal Christmas or birthday present.
Mr. Bolles describes your mission has having three components, which you need to develop sequentially.
The first is simply being conscious of God. The second is to do good works. Both of these mission components are shared by all Christians.
The third component is unique to you. Combine your talent and what you love to do in order to serve God's purpose.
To pursue these three components, you are warned that you will have to unlearn some common ideas. For example, you should feel gratitude towards God, rather than pride in yourself. When choices come up, be sure to consider the alternatives and pick the one that will add to love and goodness. Your mission will not be dictated by God, rather you will use your free will to select one with Him "where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
The book ends with a brief list of suggested reading, and lots of ads for Mr. Bolles's other books. I found the ads to be in appropriate for such a book, and graded it down one star accordingly.
Overall, I found the book to be simple, moving, and consoling. I think most Christians would feel greater access to Divine guidance through the experience of reading and reflecting on these simple, but powerful, suggestions. Although the book will not take you a long time to read, it may take you a lifetime to live.
Where does your work lack deep gladness in meeting the world's deep hunger
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on March 19, 2001
If you aren't "into" God, you may not find this book useful. On the other hand if you at least have an open mind, you will find that this God-centered book respects all forms of religion and draws on universal religious beliefs to give direction. The writer just happens to be Christian.
The premise of the book is that nothing can be sorted out in life until you have your spiritual life in order. Then the rest will follow.
As someone who has a strong belief in God, I found this book to be an honest guide to finding a focus in life. It isn't the only way, but it ring true for me.
It isn't cut and dry and interpretation by the individual reader will give this book value.
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on August 9, 2000
* This book gets to the heart of the matter. It's one of the most fruitful vocational guidance books I've ever read, and I've read -AHEM- (embarrassed) several dozen over the years. You CAN learn from it; it WILL help guide you; and you will feel inspired, too. Bolles addresses in the most fundamental way what it means to be a contributing and fully-expressive human being within a basic spiritual framework. The book feels whole, honest, complete - simple yet powerful. There are some exercises with wonderful questions to which I realized important answers that focused me (somewhat). Not a single page is a waste of time or energy. The efficacious brevity is refreshing after reading so many other thick and fruitless "career" books, hence the five stars.
*very highly recommended* - May I also recommend Boldt's little book book "How to Find the Work You Love." Together, these two little books make a great team for help with career indecision!
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on April 24, 2004
This book in written with numerous references to the Christian Bible. The author is writting through his christian backgound and using christianity as his vocabulary. This is not to say that people of other faiths or no faith could not find value in this book. As he is writting in "big picture", "macro" terms it would be impossible to do so without using "God" terms.
The book is simple and profound at the same time. It's basic premise is to find your greatest value and to see it as your place of vocation.
He states that there are 3 stages in finding your mission in life. The first is to connect with your God; the second is to do what you can to make the world a better place. My favorite is the third phase: a)"execise that Talent which you particulary came to earth to use -- your greatest gift which you most delight to use". b)"in the place(s) or setting(s) which God has caued to appeal to you and the most" and c) and for the purposes which God most needs to have done in the world".
I do not see what some reviewers have stated that it boiled down to waiting on some inspiration or spiritual leading. I especially liked the example of being as medical doctor and working in a leper colony. It has to be a match that is helpful for both sides or you will not be happy and will have missed your mission in life.
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on December 4, 2000
I wish I'd had a recent copy of Parachute so that I could have seen this as an appendice before deciding to purchase it as a gift. This would be perfect for you, or as a gift, only if you are a Christian and don't mind having God thrust in your face and in every single sentence in the book. I wish this Christian bent had been indicated in the editorial or reader reviews. Not being a Christian, I found the book to be tiresome in that aspect and now am stuck with a book I cannot use and find annoying.
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on November 19, 1997
At some point in life, you feel the need to put down on paper what your about and what you are trying to achieve in life. But, how to you get started ? How can you be sure what your mission is? "How to find Your Mission in Life" is an excellent resource to help you get going. There are not many good books on this subject. I found this book excellent in helping me with my mission. Highly recommended.
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on July 7, 2003
I purchased this book two years ago and read it through, but it didn't impact me very much. I just pulled it out again to reread and was deeply moved by the author's conviction about the spiritual nature of life. Even if one has strong spiritual convictions, it is all too easy to compartmentalize work, family, friends, and spiritual life. Bolles reminded me of the "integrity" of integrated life and work. Although it is very short, this book should not be a quick read, rather, it is something to meditate on.
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on February 25, 2014
This is an exceptionally quick read! It is also quite profound due to the straight forward delivery of the message. Basically the message is: find out who you are and what you like, which are gifts endowed by your Creator. Use those gifts to better youself and do the best you can in your current situation/circumstances.

This really is a good, bottom line up front type of book that doesn't require much time or effort to understand, but might take a while to implement in your life. I look at this book as a building block, or a foundation that willstart you on a path to find your mission in life. Give it a shot.
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on April 10, 2009
My daughter got me a copy of "The 1999 What Color is Your Parachute?" I was age 59 at the time, and had a history of changing jobs of respectable status, but not much so. I had a successful career in the Air Force, and was a local elected city councilor, then director of personnel administration for the city of Fall River MA.

Before reading the book, I phoned my daughter and asked her why she sent this book to me. She replied, "Because you still do not know what you want to be when you grow up." I vowed to read the book just to spite her. At this time I was a stock broker with Putnam Investments.

Two months after reading the book, I was appointed as the first-ever non-native Indian in the position of Director of Personnel for the Narragansett Indian Tribe. I felt honored and blessed with this position. Sometime after this, I was appointed as the Town Administrator for Westport MA. I was comfortable in the position, and exceeded the expectations of many, including myself. I wondered where I might have gone in my life had I read Bolles' book many years earlier. Since that time, I have been singing the praises of Mr. Bolles, and even half-heartily thought of becoming his publicist on the national stage.
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on October 16, 2006
The key in the book is How to Find your Mission in Life, well after reading this thing several times, I found it as unhelpful as the first read. Quite honestly it is full of feel good platitudes, which are not only Christian, and no roadmap. If you really want to find your mission perhaps try the other book, Parachute, the 2007 edition is superb.
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